October 4th, 2007
Chicago Cubs @ Arizona Diamondbacks
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
D-Backs Lead Series 1-0
Ted Lily vs Doug Davis
Chicago Cubs Starting Lineup/Batting Order:
1. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
2. Ryan Theriot (SS)
3. Derek Lee (1B)
4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
5. Matt Murton (RF)
6. Geovany Soto (C)
7. Mark DeRosa (2B)
8. Jacque Jones (CF)
9. Ted Lily (P)
Arizona Diamonbacks Starting Lineup/Batting Order:
1. Cris Young (CF)
2. Stephen Drew (SS)
3. Eric Byrnes (LF)
4. Conor Jackson (1B)
5. Mark Reynolds (3B)
6. Chris Synder (C)
7. Justin Upton (RF)
8. Augie Ojeda (2B)
9. Doug Davis (P)
Chicago Cubs: 4
Arizona Diamondbacks: 8
WP: Doug Davis
LP: Ted Lily
Diamondbacks Lead Series 2-0
Ted Lily: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K's, 1 HR, 79 Pitches
Alfonso Soriano: 2/5, 2 H, 3 K's
Geovany Soto: 1/3, 1 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI's, 1 BB, 1 K
Doug Davis: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 8 K's, 1 HR, 112 Pitches
Cris Young: 1/3, 1 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI's, 2 BB's, 2 K's
Augie Ojeda: 2/4, 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
Umpires: Home-Sam Holbrook, First Base-Greg Gibson, Second Base-Mike Everitt, Third Base-Mike Reilly
Before the playoffs officially got started on Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs were the favorite to represent the NL in the World Series among most fans. This could have come across as puzzling seeing how the Cubs came into the playoffs with the worst record of anyone. Yet, the Cubs were still virtually favored. And you could contribute that to the fact that they were set up to face one of the most unnoticed teams in the majors, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Game 1 didn't go Chicago's way whatsoever. The Cubbies had opportunities galore to put runs across and only went 1/10 with men on base. The 1 through 5 hitters in the Cubs lineup went an abismal 1/20 and helped create a 4 hit and 1 run night offensively. For Game 2 the Cubs had 8 year veteran Ted Lily lined up to pitch. Things still looked favorable for the Cubs, all they needed to do was cash in on their opportunities and score runs. Arizona's game plan seemed obvious coming in, keep doing what you've been doing. The pitching had been outstanding in Game 1, and as always the hitting timely and clutch.
The Cubs doubled their amount of hits from Wednesday night, and managed 4 runs. But that was all in vain, for they did not get the QS that they were hoping for from Lily. In the 1st inning, Lily allowed Cris Young to get on 1st, and started to have serious control problems. His mind seemed to not be completely focused as he made 5 moves to first during the inning. Young gave Lily such problems that at one point he flinched in his lead and Lily ended up tossing a one hopper into the dirt. This was merely a sign of things to come.
Chicago FINALLY capitalized offensively via a 2R HR from Soto. This sent the large amount of Cubs fans into a frenzy at Chase Field. Steve Bartman was exstatic in his living room and the all of Chi-town was rejoicing. Chicago was able to work over Doug Davis in the 2nd by balooning his pitch count up to 43 by innings end. Then the bottom of the 2nd came along, and Ted Lily imploded. After allowing a single and a walk to the first 2 batters, striking out Ojeda, a sac bunt to Davis, Cris Young stepped into the dish. Young blasted a 3R HR to crush the very souls of Cub Nation. Eric Brynes delivered soon after with a moon shot of a triple that brought in a run. The inning ended with Lily topping out at 55+ pitches and a glove covered in dirt that he had slammed down in anger. 4-2 D-Backs after 2 innings, and they looked to be in cruise control.
And as if Cubs fans weren't already discouraged and thinking about fast forwarding, "Rock Your Body" by The Backstreet Boys went over the sound system at Chase Field. Do they have no shame? Do they have no pity? (Gosh!) Anyway...Doug Davis and Lily started to settle in during the 3rd and around the time the 4th arrived, Lily's bell had tolled. Stephen Drew tripled bringing in another 2 runs to push the score up to 6-2. Arizona had Lily's number throughout his start and never let up. Lily was pulled after 79 pitches. And what was striking about that, his ball/strike ratio was: 35-43. Ugh.
The Diamondbacks began their Chinese Water Torture by pouring on 2 more runs in the 5th on the Cubs relievers. (A relief staff that was 3rd in the NL in ERA) And they even had the audacity to bunt with a man on 3rd to bring a run in.
By the 6th, Doug Davis' had been rolling putting down 10 of his last 12 batters faced. He started to lose his control and was pulled after putting 2 men on. They eventually scored after a Daryl Ward double. At this point, I had been lulled to sleep by the Cubs stagnant play that I didn't even react.
Between innings, Dane Cook reminded me that there was only 1 October. Gotta love how a guy with minimal comedy skills that got famous for excessive cursing gets himself on TV. But, at least Frank TV commercials hit twice during one commercial break before the 7th inning started. His G.W. Bush impression is grade A hilarious. "I call it, an inside the park homerun". (Hehe) But he still didn't draw my attention away from the fact that the game was still not over. And I had to sit and watch the 7th and 8th slug its way by.
The 9th inning came upon us and I was begging Jose Valverde to make quick work of the Cubs. Put them out of their misery. After a few hickups, Valverde brought the gas and ended the long night of baseball.
Game 2 was more of the same for the Cubs. More blown opportunities offensively despite a slight improvement. More starting pitching woes with Lily. Piniella was criticized for pulling Zambrano after only 6 innings on 85 pitches in Game 1. And having Lily get shelled after 4 is not going to sit well with the Cub faithful. Its been 99 years since the Cubs won a World Series and by the looks of the first 2 games of this NLDS, here comes 100. But, there is still hope. Rich Hill will be hope in the flesh come Saturday in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. Livan Hernandez takes the hill for the Diamondbacks and will look to close the series out. Hernandez did not have the best regular season of his 11 year career, but he still looks promising seeing how ridiculously dead the Cubs offense has been. Chicago must get their big hitters, ahem, hitting. Their bullpen must be more reliable seeing how it has given up 4 runs. But as far as the Diamondbacks, just weather the storm that is playing at Wrigley. Keep pitching well and getting timely hits and runs. This team finished with 90 wins for a reason. They are great ball club. Do not sleep on this team. I did. The Diamondbacks are the beast under your bed that you've never known about. (BOO!)
Arizona Diamondbacks @ Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, October 6th, 2007
6:00pm ET TBS
My Take: The Cubs feed off of their hometown crowd and delay the inevitable.